WASHINGTON--NASA unveiled a quaint retro-looking plan on Monday to land men on the moon by 2018 using an Apollo-like rocket and lunar lander, Tang, and a vivid and convincing simulation by animation company Industrial Light and Magic.
"It's back to the future for the US manned spaceflight program," enthused NASA Administrator Mike Muffin. "After 25 years of tragic failures using the winged space shuttles that tend to blow up, to achieve President Bush's grand vision of a return to deep space exploration, NASA is opting for the old Apollo look. You know, just put a capsule on top of a rocket, put people or cargo into it, and blast it off into the 60s and 70s."
Opinion polls show that the American public mostly doesn't remember the Apollo moon landings and people walking around, driving dune buggies and playing golf there, and don't believe it really happened if they do happen to remember it, he pointed out.
"I'm not sure it really happened myself," he continued. "So, we can just replay everything. We've got loads of Tang leftover we can use, and we are already training astronauts how to hit golf balls on a dusty golf course, and how to bounce around in those bulky white space suits as if they were actually hopping about on a reduced gravity moon environment. We've also got one of those crinkly-looking, tacky American flags leftover that we can use."
According to analysts, the biggest risk with the new plan is financial, since the US doesn't have any money anymore, and must borrow billions from the rest of the world to try to repair the damage from Hurricane Katrina, and also to pay the interest on its colossal debt. Yet help may come from a new generation of entrepreneurs like Richard Branson who are sinking personal fortunes and venture capital into a new race for space.
NASA supposedly sent nine manned missions to the Moon between 1968 and 1972, and a total of 12 men allegedly walked on the lunar surface.
The agency chief was keen to point out that the new proposal amounted to a re-tread of those missions. "We will really prove once again how much of it the Apollo guys seemed to get right."
"Industrial Light and Magic has promised to recreate a moon simulation and landing as good as the 60s and 70s, and ILM has also been contracted to create a convincing simulation of a later NASA voyage to Mars," he added. "We can also use footage from that movie Apollo 13.' We can still prove to the world that we can still fool them into believing we can still do it."